Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (15471616). Don Quixote, Part 1. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Fourth Book
XIV. Wherein the Captive Prosecuteth the Pleasant Narration of His Life
FIFTEEN days were not fully expired when the runagate had bought him a very good barque, able to hold thirty persons or more; and for the better colour and assurance of his business; he made a voyage to a place called Sargel, which is thirty leagues distant from Algiers towards the side of Oran, and is a great place of traffic for dry figs. He made this voyage twice or thrice in company with the Tagarine of whom we made mention; and the name of Tagarino is in Barbary given to the Moors of Aragon, Granada, and Mudajares. And in the kingdom of Fez those Mudajares are called Elches, and are the nation which that king doth most employ in warlike affairs. You shall therefore understand that every time he passed by with his barque, he did cast anchor in a little creek, twice the shot of a crossbow from the garden wherein Zoraida attended; and there the runagate would, in very good earnest, exercise himself with the Moors that rowed, either to fly, or else to assault one another in jest, as he meant to do after in good earnest; and would now and then go to Zoraidas garden and demand fruits, which her father would bestow upon him, without knowing what he was; and although he desired to have spoken with Zoraida, as he told me afterward himself, and have informed her how it was he that was to carry her away, by my direction, into the land of Christians, and that she should therefore live cheerful and secure, yet was it never possible, forasmuch as the women of that nation do not suffer themselves to be viewed by any Moor or Turk, if he be not their husband, or that their parents command them, yet do they haunt and communicate themselves to Christian captives freely, and that sometimes more than is convenient. And truly it would have grieved me that he should have spoken to her, for perhaps it would have perplexed her extraordinarily, to see her affair committed to the trust of a runagate; but God, who did otherwise dispose it, did not concur with this good desire of our runagate, who, seeing how safely he went and returned from Sargel, and that he sounded when and where he pleased, and that the Tagarino, his partner, did only what he liked, and that I was ransomed, and nothing else wanting but to find out some Christian that would row, he bade me bethink myself what men I would bring away with me beside those that I had ransomed, and that I should warn them to be ready against the next Friday, wherein he was resolved that we should depart.
Seeing this, I spake to twelve Spaniards, very lusty rowers, and those that could with most liberty get out of the city; and it was not a little matter to find so many there at that time, for there were twenty galleys abroad a-robbing, which had carried all the other rowers with them, and these were left behind, because their master did keep at home that summer to finish a galley that was on the stocks a-making. To these I said nothing else, but only warned them that the Friday ensuing, in the evening, they should closely steal out by one and one, and go towards Aguimoratos garden, and there expect me until I came unto them. I gave this advice to every one of them apart, with order also, that although they saw any other Christian there, they should tell them nothing else but that I had commanded them to expect me in that place.
This diligence being used, yet wanted there another, which was the most expedient of all, to wit, to advise Zoraida of the terms wherein our affairs did stand, to the end she might be likewise ready and prepared, and not affrighted, though we did assault her before the time that she could imagine the barque of the Christians to be come to fetch her; and therefore I resolved to go myself into the garden, and see whether I might speak with her. And taking the occasion to go and gather some herbs, I went unto it the day before our departure, and the first person with whom I encountered was her father, who demanded of me, in a language which in all Barbary and Constantinople is usually spoken by the Moors to their captives, and is neither Arabian, Spanish, nor of any other nation, but rather a mixture of all languages, wherewith all of us understand one another: he, I say, in that kind of speech, demanded of me what I sought for in that his garden, and to whom I did belong. I answered that I was one Arnaute Mami his slave (and this because I was very certainly informed that he was his entire friend), and that I came thither to gather of all sorts of herbs to make a salad. He consequently asked of me whether I was a man of ransom or no, and how much my master demanded for me. And being in those questions and demands, the beautiful Zoraida descended from the house into the garden, who had espied me a good while before. And as the Moorish women do not greatly estrange themselves from the sights of Christians, nor are in their behaviour or conversation with them anything squeamish, as we have said already, she did not greatly fear to approach the place where her father talked with me, but rather her father perceiving that she came on slowly, did call, and commanded her to draw near.
It were a thing impossible for me to recount the great beauty and gallant disposition, or the bravery and riches of attire wherein my beloved Zoraida then showed herself to mine eyes. I will only say this, that there hung more pearls at her ears, superlative fair neck, and hair, than she hath hairs on her head; about the wrists of her legs, which were naked, after the manner of her country, she wore two carcaxes (for so the manacles or bracelets of the feet are called in the Moresco tongue) of the finest gold, wherein were enchased so many diamonds, that, as she told me after, her father valued them at twenty thousand crowns; and those about the wrists of her hands were of equal esteem. Her pearls were many, and those most orient; for all the chief bravery and ornament of the Moorish ladies consists in the adorning of themselves with pearls and pearl-seed, by reason whereof there is more pearls and pearl-seed to be found among the Moors than among all other nations of the world. And Zoraidas father had the fame to have many, and those the very best that were in Algiers; and also above two hundred thousand ducats of Spanish gold, of all which was she the lady who now is mine, And if with all this ornament she could then seem fair, by the relics that have remained unto her among so many labours, may be easily guessed what she would have been in the time of prosperity; for all of us do know that the beauty of some women hath limited days and seasons, and requireth certain accidents either to diminish or increase it; and it is a thing natural to the passions of the mind, either to raise or abase it, but most commonly they wholly destroy it. To be brief, I say that she arrived to the place where we discoursed at that time, most richly attired, and beautiful beyond measure, or I at least deemed her the fairest that I had ever beheld until then; and herewithal, remembering the obligation wherein she had tied me, thought that some deity had presented itself to my view, being come from heaven to the earth for my recreation and relief.
As soon as she was arrived, her father told her in her own language how I was his friend Arnaute Mami his captive, and that I came there to gather a salad; then she, taking the speech, demanded in that medley of tongues of which I have spoken, whether I was a gentleman, and what the reason was why I redeemed not myself. I made answer that I was already ransomed, and by the ransom might be conjectured in how much my master valued me, seeing he had for my liberty a thousand and five hundred coltamis. To this she answered, In good sooth, if thou wert my fathers, I would cause him not to give thee for twice as much more; for you Christians are great liars, and do make every one of yourselves poor men, to defraud the Moors of their due ransom. It may well be so, madam, quoth I; but I have, for my part, used all truth in this affair with my master, and do, and will use truth with as many persons as I shall ever have occasion to treat with in this world.
And when dost thou go away? quoth Zoraida. To-morrow, as I believe, quoth I; for there is a French vessel here which sets forth to-morrow, and I mean to depart in her. Were it not better, replied Zoraida, to expect until vessels come out of Spain, and go away with them, than with those of France, which are not your friends? No, quoth I; although if it were true, as the news runs, that there comes a vessel from Spain, I would attend it; but yet it is more certain that I shall depart to-morrow; for the desire I have to see myself at home in my country, and with those persons whom I love, is so great as it will not permit me to expect any other commodity that foreslows itself, be it never so good. Thou art doubtlessly married in thy country, said Zoraida, and therefore desirest to go see thy wife? I am not married, quoth I; but I have passed my word to marry as soon as I am there safely arrived. And is she beautiful to whom thou hast passed it? quoth Zoraida. So beautiful, said I, as, to endear it and tell you the truth, she is very like unto yourself. Hereat her father laughed very heartily, and said, In good earnest, Christian, she must be very fair that may compare with my daughter, who is the most beautiful of all this kingdom; and if thou wilt not believe me, look on her well, and thou shalt see that I tell thee but the truth. He himself, as most perfect in the tongue, did serve for the interpreter of most of our speeches: for although she could speak that illegitimate language which is there in use, yet did she manifest her mind more by signs than by words.
Whilst thus we reasoned of many matters, there came running towards us a certain Moor, and told his master how four Turks had leaped over the garden walls, and were gathering the fruits, although they were not yet ripe. The old man and his daughter Zoraida started hereat; for it is an universal and natural defect in the Moors to fear the Turks, but specially the soldiers of that nation, who are commonly so insolent, and have such command over the Moors that are their subjects, as they do use them worse than if they were their slaves. Therefore Zoraidas father said unto her, Daughter, retire thyself into the house, and keep thyself in, whilst I go speak to those dogs. And thou, Christian, go and seek out thine herbs, and depart in a good hour; and I pray Allah to conduct thee safely to thy country. I inclined myself to him, and he departed to search out the Turks, leaving me alone with Zoraida, who began to make ado as if she went whither her father had commanded her. But scarce was he covered among the trees of the garden, when she returned to me, with her eyes full of tears, and said, Amexi, Christiano? amexi? that is, Goest thou away, Christian? Goest thou away? I answered, Yes, lady, that I do; but I will never depart without thee. Expect me the next Friday, and be not affrighted when thou shalt see us; for we will go to the Christian country then without all doubt. This I said to her in such sort as she understood all my words very well; and, casting her arm over my neck, she began to travel with languishing steps towards the house; and fortune would (which might have been very ill, if Heaven had not rectified it) that as we walked together in that manner and form, her father (who did by this return, after he had caused the Turks to depart) espied us; and we saw also very well how he had perceived us; wherefore Zoraida, who is very discreet, would not take away her arm from my neck, but rather drew nearer unto me, and lade her head on my breast, and bowed her knees a little, with evident token that she swooned; and I likewise made as though I did sustain her up by force. Her father came running over towards us, and, seeing his daughter in that state, demanded the cause of her; but seeing she made no answer, he himself said, She doubtlessly is dismayed by the sudden affright she took at the entrance of those dogs; and, taking her away from me, he bowed her to his own breast; and she, breathing out a sigh, with her eyes yet full of tears, said again, Amexi, Christiano, amexi,Go away, Christian; go away. To which her father replied, There is no cause, daughter, why the Christian should go away; for he hath done thee no harm, and the Turks are already departed. Sir, they have affrighted her, quoth I, as you have said; but yet since she hath commanded me to go away, I will not offend her; therefore, rest in peace; for I will return, if it please you to give me leave, for herbs to this garden when it is needful; for my master says none better are to be found for salads in any garden than you have in this. Come as oft as thou wilt, said Aguimorato; for my daughter says not this in respect that thou or any other Christian hath offended her, but that, meaning to say that the Turks should go away, she bade thee to depart, or else she spake it because it is time for thee to gather thine herbs.
With this I took leave of both, and she seemed at the instant of my departure to have had her heart torn away from her as she departed with her father; and I, under colour of seeking herbs, went about all the garden at my leisure, and viewed all the sallies and the entrances thereof, the strength of the house, and the commodities that might be offered to facilitate our enterprise. This being done, I came home, and made a relation to the runagate and my other fellows of all that had passed, and did long infinitely to see the hour wherein I might, without any affright or danger, possess that happiness which fortune, in the fair and lovely Zoraida, offered unto me. In fine, the time passed over, and the so much desired day and term arrived; and, every one of us following the order which, with mature consideration and long discourse, we had agreed on, we found the good success we desired; for the very Friday following the day wherein I had spoken with Zoraida in the garden, Morenago (for so was the runagate called) near night cast anchor almost right before the place wherein the beautiful Zoraida remained. The Christians, also, that were to row were ready, and hidden in sundry places thereabouts. All were suspended, and resolutely expected my coming, desirous to set upon the barque that was before their face; for they knew not of the agreement that was between me and the runagate, but rather made full account that they were to gain their liberty by force of arms, and killing the Moors that came in that vessel.
It therefore befel that, as soon as I and my fellows appeared, all the rest that were hidden, espied us, made forthwith over towards us. This was at an hour when the city gates were shut, and never a body abroad among all those fields. And when we were all together, we were in doubt whether it would be best first to go and fetch Zoraida, or to imprison and stone the Taragin Moors that rowed in the frigate. And being in this doubt, the runagate came to us, asking upon what we stayed, for it was now high time to be going away, and all his Moors were reccheless, and the greater number of them asleep. We told him then the cause of our stay. And he answered that it was of most importance first to subject the vessel, which might be done with very great facility, and without any peril; and that we might go after for Zoraida. His opinion liked us all very well; and therefore, without lingering any longer, he leading the way, we came to the vessel, and he himself leaping in first of all, set hand to his falchion, and said in Moresco, Let none of you that is here stir himself, if he loves his life. And saying so, all the rest of the Christians entered. The Moors, which were of little spirit, hearing their master say so, were marvellously amazed, and, without daring any one of them to set hand to their arms, which were but a few at all, they suffered themselves very quietly to be taken and bound by the Christians, which did it very dexterously, threatening them that if they did let slip the least outcry, they should presently be all put to the sword. This being finished, and the half of our people remaining in their guard, we that were left, conducted also by the runagate, went towards Aguimoratos garden. The door thereof did, by very good hap, open with as little noise as if it had had no lock at all; whereupon we went with great quietness and silence towards the house, unseen or espied of any.
The beautiful Zoraida was the while expecting us at a window, and as soon as she saw people approach, demanded, with a low voice, whether we were Nazarenes, as if she would say or ask whether we were Christians. I answered that we were, and willed her to come down. As soon as she knew me, she stayed not a minute, but without answering any word came down in an instant, and, opening the door, showed herself to us all, more beautiful and richly attired than I am able in any sort to express. As soon as I saw her, I took her by the hand and kissed it; the same did the runagate, and my two comrades; and all the rest, which knew not the matter, did as they had seen us do before them; for it seemed that we did no more but give her thanks, and acknowledge her the auctress of all our liberties. The runagate demanded of her, in her own language, whether her father were in the garden or no. She answered that he was, and that he slept. Then will it be requisite. Quoth the runagate, to rouse him, and bear him and all the other things of worth in this garden away with us. That shall not be so, quoth she; for I will have no man to touch my father; and in this house there is nothing of value, but that which I mean to carry away with myself, which is so much as will be sufficient to cheer and enrich you all; as, if you will stay but a while, you shall perceive.
And saying so, she entered again into the house, promising to return to us speedily, and bade us stand still without making any noise. I demanded of the runagate what speech had passed between them, and he told me all she had said; and I answered him again, that I would not have Zoraidas will transgressed in any sort. By this time she returned laden with a little casket full of gold, so that she was scarce able to bear it. And her father, in the mean season, by bad fortune, awaked, and heard the noise that was beneath in his garden; and, looking out at a window, he perceived that they were all Christians that were in it, and therefore cried out, in a loud and unmeasurable manner, in the Arabian tongue, Christians, Christians! thieves, thieves! by which cries we were all of us strucken into very great fear and confusion. But the runagate, seeing the peril wherein we were, and how nearly it concerned him to come off from that enterprise before he were discovered, ran up very speedily to the place where Aguimorato stood, and some of our fellows accompanied him (for I durst not abandon Zoraida, who had fallen between mine arms all amazed); and in conclusion, those which had mounted, behaved themselves so well, as they brought Aguimorato down in a trice, having tied his hands, and set a gag in his mouth, which hindered his speech, threatening him that if he did speak but a word it should cost him his life.
When his daughter saw him she covered her eyes, because she would not behold him; and he marvelled, wholly ignoring with how good a will she came away with us. But then, considering that nothing was so requisite as our legs, we did with all velocity and diligence get into the frigate; for our companions did perplexedly expect our return, half afraid that some disgrace had befallen us. Scarce were two hours of the night overrun, when we were all embarked; and then we unmanacled Zoraidas fathers hands, and took the cloth out of his mouth. But the runagate did again admonish him that, as he tendered his life, he should not speak one word. He, beholding his daughter likewise there, began to sigh very feelingly, but chiefly perceiving me to hold her so straitly embraced, and that she made no resistance, nor did complain or seem coy, but stood quiet; but yet for all that he kept silence, fearing lest they should put the runagates menaces in execution. Zoraida, seeing herself now safe within the barque, and that we were ready to row away, looking on her father and the other Moors that were tied therein, she entreated the runagate to tell me how she desired me to do her the favour to set those Moors and her father at liberty; for she would rather cast herself into the sea than see her father, who had loved her so dearly, carried away captive before her eyes, and that also by her occasion. The runagate told me her mind, and I answered how I was very well pleased it should be so. But he replied that it was in no sort expedient, by reason that if they were landed there, they would presently raise the country and put the whole city into a tumult, and cause certain light frigates to be manned and sent out in our pursuit, and lay both sea and land for us in such sort as it would be impossible for us to escape; but what was at the present possible to be done, was to give them liberty at the first Christian country whereat we happened to arrive.
All of us agreed to this opinion; and Zoraida also (to whom reason was given of the motives we had, not to free them forthwith, and accomplish her will therein) remained satisfied; and therefore presently, with joyful silence and cheerful diligence, every one of our lusty rowers seizing upon his oar, we began, after we had commended ourselves unto Almighty God, to launch forth, and address our course towards the isles of Mallorca, which is the nearest Christian country; but by reason that the wind blew somewhat from the mountains, and that the sea began to be rough, it was not possible to continue that course, and so we were forced to approach the shore, and go by little and little towards Oran, not without great grief and anguish, for fear to be espied by the town of Sargel, which is on that coast, and falls some seventy leagues beyond Algiers. And we did likewise fear to meet in that passage some galliot of those which come ordinarily with merchandise from Tetuan, although every one of us for himself, and for all together, did presume that if we encountered a galliot of merchandise, so it were not a pirate, that not only we would not be lost, but rather would take the vessel, that therein we might with more security finish our voyage. Zoraida, whilst thus we sailed, went with her head between my hands, because she would not look on her father; and I felt her, how she was still invoking of Lela Marien to assist us. And having sailed about some thirty leagues, the morning overtook us about some three musket-shot from land, in a place that seemed to be desert, and free from all access of those that might discover us; and yet for all that, we got by might and main somewhat farther into the seas that now was become a little calmer; and having entered some two leagues into the main, order was given that they should row by turns, whilst they did refresh themselves, and take a little sustenance, for the barque was very well furnished with victuals, although those which did row refused the offer, saying that then it was no time to repose, and that they should set those that did not row to dinner, for they would not yet in any sort let go their oars. It being done as they had said, the wind did rise so much as it made us, abandoning our oars, to set sail, and direct our boat towards Oran, being unable to take any other course. All was done with very great speed; and so we made by the sail more than eight miles an hour, free from all other fear than that of encountering some vessel of war. We gave the Moors, our prisoners, their dinner, and the runagate comforted them, saying that they went not as prisoners, for they should receive their liberty upon the first commodity that were proffered. The same was likewise said of Zoraidas father, who returned them this answer: I would easily expect and believe any other thing, O Christians, of your liberality and honourable manner of proceeding; but do not think that I am so simple as once to imagine that you will give me my liberty, for you did never expose yourself to the danger of despoiling me thereof with intention to return it me so prodigally again, especially knowing, as you do, who I am, and the profit you may reap by giving me it again, to which profit, if you will put a name, and tell me how much would you demand, I do even from hence offer unto you all that which you will seek for me, and for that unfortunate daughter of mine; or if you will not deliver me, I will give you it for her alone, who is the greatest and the best part of my soul. And saying so, he began to weep so bitterly as he moved us all to compassion, and forced Zoraida to look upon him, who, seeing him weep, was so strangely moved as, arising from my feet, she went and embraced her father; and, laying her face upon his, they began together so tender a lamentation as many of us that were in the barque were forced to keep them company. But when her father noted her to be so richly adorned, and with so many jewels on, he asked her in his own language, How haps this, daughter, that yesternight late, before this terrible disaster befel us wherein we are plunged, I saw thee attired in thine ordinary household array, and that now, without having had any leisure to apparel thyself, or having given thee any glad tidings, for whose solemnising thou oughtest to adorn and publish thyself, I do view thee thus clad in the richest attire which I could bestow upon thee when our fortune was most favourable? Answer me to this, for thou hast suspended and astonished me more than the very disgrace itself wherein I am.
All that the Moor said to his daughter the runagate declared unto us; and she did not answer a word to him. But when he saw the little coffer lie at one side of the barque, wherein she was wont to keep her jewels, and that he knew very well he had left at Algiers, and not brought to the garden, he was much more amazed, and demanded of her how that coffer was come into our possession, and what things she had there within it. To which the runagate, without attending that Zoraida should answer him, said, Sir, do not trouble yourself by demanding so many things of your daughter Zoraida, for with one that I will say I shall satisfy them all; and therefore you shall understand that she is a Christian, and hath been the file that cut off our chains, and is the liberty itself of our captivity; and she goeth along with us of her own free will, as content (if mine imagination do not wrong me) to see herself in this state, as he is that cometh out of darkness to the light, from death unto life, and out of pain into glory. Is it true, daughter, which this man says? quoth the Moor. It is, answered Zoraida. That thou in effect art a Christian, replied the old man, and she that hath put her father into his enemys hands? To which Zoraida answered, I am she that is a Christian, but not she that hath brought thee to this pass; for my desire did never so estrange itself from thee as to abandon or harm thee, but only endeavoured to do myself good. And what good hast thou done thyself, daughter? Demand that, said she, of Lela Marien, for she can therein inform thee better than I can.
Scarce had the Moor heard her say so, when, with incredible haste, he threw himself headlong into the sea, wherein he had been questionlessly drowned, if the long apparel he wore on had not kept him up a while above the water. Zoraida cried out to us to save him; and so we all presently ran, and, laying hold on a part of his Turkish robe, drew him up half drowned, and wholly devoid of feeling; whereat Zoraida was so grieved, that she lamented him as dolefully as if he had been dead. There we laid him with his mouth downward, and he avoided a great quantity of water, and after the space of two hours returned to himself again. And in the meantime, the wind also turning, it did drive us towards the coast, so that we were constrained to keep ourselves by very force of arms from striking upon it; and our good fortune directing us, we arrived to a little creek at the side of a certain cape or promontory, called by the Moors the Cape of the Cava Rumia, which in our language signifies the ill Christian woman. And the Moors hold it for a tradition, that in the very same place was the Cava buried, for whom Spain was lost, and conquered by the Moors; for Cava in their language signifies an ill woman, and Rumia a Christian. Yea, and they hold it for a sign of misfortune to arrive or cast anchor there, when mere necessity drives them thither, without which they never approach it: yet did it not prove to us the shelter of an ill woman, but the secure haven of our safety. We sent our sentinels ashore, and never let the oars slip out of our hands. We did likewise eat of the runagates provision, and heartily besought Almighty God and Our Lady to assist and favour us with a happy end to so lucky a beginning. And we agreed, upon Zoraidas entreaty, to set her father and the other Moors that we had tied a-land in that place; for she was of so tender and compassionate a mind as she could in no wise brook to see her father tied in her presence, or her countrymen borne away captives. Wherefore we made her a promise that we would, at our departure, let them all go away, seeing we incurred no danger by leaving them in so desolate a region. Our prayers were not so vain but that they found gentle acceptance in Heaven, which presently changed the wind and appeased the sea, inviting us cheerfully to return to it again, and prosecute our commenced voyage.
Seeing that the weather was favourable, we loosed the Moors, and set them all a-land one by one; and coming to disembark Zoraidas father, who was by that time wholly come to himself, he said, For what do you conjecture, Christians, that this bad woman is glad that you give me liberty? Do you think that she doth it for pity that she takes of me? No, truly; but she doth it only to remove the hindrance my presence gave her when she would execute her unlawful desires. Nor ought you to believe that she is moved to change religion by reason that she understands yours to be better than her own, but only because she knows licentiousness to be more publicly and freely practised in your country than among us. And then, turning to Zoraida, whom I and another Christian held fast by both the arms, lest she should do some desperate fact, he said, O in famous girl, and ill-advised maiden! where dost thou run thus blinded and distracted, in the power of those dogs, our natural enemies? Cursed be the hour wherein I engendered thee! and cursed the delights and pleasures wherein thou wast nousled! I perceiving that he was not like to make an end of his execrations so soon as I could wish, had him set on shore, and thence he prosecuted his maledictions and plaints, praying unto Mahomet that he would intercede with Allah that we might be all destroyed, confounded, and cast away. And when we could hear his words no longer, by reason that we set sail, we perceived his works, that were, to pluck his beard, tear his hair, and cast himself on the ground; but once he did lift up his voice so high, as that we heard him say, Return, beloved daughter, return to the land; for I do pardon thee all that thou hast done: and deliver that money to those men, for it is now their own; and return thou to comfort thy sad and desolate father, who will forsake his life on these desolate sands, if thou dost abandon him.
Zoraida heard him say all this, and lamented thereat, but knew not how to speak, or answer him any other thing but this: Father mine, I pray Allah that Lela Marien, who hath been the cause of my becoming a Christian, may likewise comfort thee in thy sorrow. Allah knows well that I could do none other than I did, and that these Christians do owe me nothing for my good-will, seeing that though I had not come away with them, but remained at my house, yet had it been impossible (such was the haste wherewithal my soul pressed me) not to have executed this my purpose, which seems to me to be as good as thou, O beloved father, dost account it wicked. She said this in a time that neither her father could hear her, nor we behold him; and therefore, after I had comforted Zoraida, we did thenceforth only attend our voyage, which was so much holpen by the favourable wind as we made full account to be the next day on the coast of Spain. But as good very seldom, or rather never, betides a man thoroughly and wholly, without being accompanied or followed by some evil which troubles and assaults it, our fortune would, or rather the maledictions of the Moor poured on his daughter (for the curses of any father whatsoever are to be feared), that being engulfed three hours within night, and going before the wind with a full sail, and our oars set up, because the prosperous wind had rid us of the labour of rowing, we saw near unto us, by the light of the moon that shined very clearly, a round vessel which, with all her sails spread, did cross before us into the sea, and that so nearly, as we were fain to strike down our sail, that we might avoid the shock she was like to give us; and those that were in her had on the other side laboured also what they might to turn her out of our way, standing all of them on the hatches to demand of us what we were, from whence we came, and whither we did sail. But by reason that they spake French, the runagate bade us not to speak a word, saying, Let none answer; for these are French pirates, which make their booty of everybody. For this cause none of us answered; and, being passed a little forward, and that the ship remained in the lee of us, they suddenly shot off two pieces of artillery, and as I think, both of them had chain bullets, for with the one they cut our mast asunder, and overthrew it and the sail into the sea, and instantly after they discharged another. The bullet alighting in our barque, did pierce it through and through, without doing any other hurt; but we, seeing that our vessel began to sink, began all to cry out, and request them to succour us, and prayed them that they would take us into their vessel, for we were a-drowning. Then they came amain, and, casting out their cock-boat, there entered into it as good as a dozen Frenchmen, well appointed, with their arquebuses and matches lighted, and so approached unto us; and, perceiving how few we were, and that the barque did sink, they received us into their boat, saying, that because we had used the discourtesy of not making them answer, that misfortune had befallen us. Our runagate about this time took the coffer wherein Zoraidas treasures were kept, and threw it into the sea, unperceived of any.
In conclusion, we went all of us into the great vessel with the Frenchmen, who, after they had informed themselves of all that which they desired to know, as if they were our capital enemies, they afterwards despoiled us of all that ever we had about us; and of Zoraida they took all, even unto her very bracelets that she wore on her ankles. But the wrong they did to Zoraida did not afflict me so much as the fear I conceived that, after they had taken away from her most rich and precious jewels, they would also deprive her of the jewel of most prize, and which she valued most. But the desires of that nation extend themselves no further than to the gain of money; and their avarice in this is never thoroughly satisfied, and at that time was so great, as they would have taken from us the very habits of slaves that we brought from Barbary, if they had found them to have been worth anything. And some there were of opinion among them, that we should be all enwreathed in a sail and thrown into the sea, because they had intention to traffic into some havens of Spain, under the name of Britons, and that if they carried us alive, they should be punished, their robbery being detected; but the captain, who was he that had pilled my beloved Zoraida, said that he was so contented with his booty, as he meant not to touch any part of Spain, but would pass the Straits of Gibraltar by night, or as he might, and so return again to Rochelle, from whence he was come: and thereupon they all agreed to give us their cock-boat, and all that was necessary for our short voyage; as, indeed, they performed the day ensuing, when we were in the view of Spain; with the sight whereof all our griefs and poverties were as quite forgotten as if we never had felt any, so great is the delight a man takes to recover his liberty. It was about mid-day when they put us into the cock, giving unto us two barrels of water and some biscuit; and the captain, moved with some compassion, as the beautiful Zoraida embarked herself, bestowed on her about forty crowns in gold; nor would he permit his soldiers to despoil her of these very garments which then and now she doth wear.
We entered into the cock-boat, and, giving them thanks for the good they did, and showing at our departure more tokens of thankfulness than of discontent, they sailed presently away from us, towards the Straits; and we, without looking on any other north or star than the land itself, which appeared before us, did row towards it so lustily, that at sunset we were so near as we made full account to arrive before the night was far spent. But by reason that the moon did not shine, and the night was very dark, and that we knew not where we were, we did not hold it the best course to approach the shore too near; yet others there were that thought it convenient and good, desiring that we should make to it, although we ran the boat on the rocks, and far from any dwelling; for, by doing so, we should free ourselves from the fear, which we ought of reason to have, lest there should be up and down on that coast any frigates of the pirates of Tetuan, which are wont to leave Barbary overnight, and be on the coast of Spain ere morning, and ordinarily make their booty, and turn to their supper again to Barbary, the night following; but, of the contrary opinions, that which was followed was, that we should draw near the land by little and little, and that if the quietness of the sea would permit it, we should take land where we might best and most commodiously do it. This was done; and a little before midnight we arrived to the foot of a high and monstrous mountain, which was not altogether so near to the sea but that it did grant a little patch of ground whereon we might commodiously disembark; wherefore we ran ourselves on the sands, and came all a-land, and kissed the earth, and, with tears of most joyful content and delight, gave thanks unto our Lord God for the incomparable favours which He had done us in our voyage. Then took we out our victuals from the boat, and drew itself up on the shore, and ascended a great part of the mountain; for although we were in that place, yet durst we not assure ourselves, nor did thoroughly believe, that it was a Christian country whereon we did tread.
The day breaking somewhat slower than I could have wished it, we ascended the mountain wholly, to see whether we might discover any dwelling or sheepfolds from thence; but although was extended our sight into every quarter, yet could we neither decry dwelling, person, path, nor highway; yet did we resolve, notwithstanding, to enter into the land, seeing that we could not choose but discover ere long somebody who might give us notice of the place where we were. And that which afflicted me most of all was to see Zoraida go afoot through those rugged places; for although I did sometimes carry her on my shoulders, yet did the toil I took more weary her than the repose she got could ease her, and therefore would never after the first time suffer me to take that pains again, and so she went ever after afoot with great patience and tokens of joy, I holding her still by the hand. And having travelled little less than a quarter of a league, we heard the noise of a little bell, an infallible argument that near at hand there was some cattle; whereupon, all of us looking very wistly to see whether anybody appeared, perceived under a cork tree a young shepherd, who very quietly and carelessly was carving of a stick with a knife. We called to him, and he leaped up lightly on foot, and, as we afterwards learned, the first that he got sight of were the runagate and Zoraida; whom he seeing apparelled in the Moresco habit, thought that all the people of Barbary had been at his heels; and therefore, running very swiftly into the wood, he cried all along, with marvellous loudness, Moors! Moors are in the land! Moors! Moors! Arm! arm! These outcries struck us anew into a great perplexity, and scarce did we know what we should do; but considering how the shepherds alarm would cause all the country to rise up, and that the horsemen that kept the coast would presently come to see what it was, we all agreed that the runagate should put off his Turkish attire, and put on a captives cassock, which one of the company gave unto him forthwith, although the giver remained after in his shirt. And thus committing the affair unto Almighty God, we followed on by the same way which we saw the shepherd had taken, always expecting when the horsemen of the coast would fall upon us. And we were not deceived in our expectation, for within two hours after, having issued out of those woods into a plain, we discovered about some fifty horsemen, which came running towards us as swiftly as their horses could drive; and, having perceived them, we stood still, and stayed until they came to us, and saw instead of the Moors they sought for, so many poor Christians, and remained somewhat ashamed thereat; and one of them demanded whether we were the occasion that a shepherd had given the alarm. Yes, quoth I; and as I was about to inform what I was, and of all our adventure, and from whence we came, one of the Christians that came with us did take notice of the horseman who had spoken unto us; and so, interrupting my speech, he said, Sirs, let God be praised which hath brought us to so good a place as this is; for, if I be not deceived, the earth which we tread is of Velez-Malaga; and, if the years of my captivity have not confounded my memory, you likewise, sir, that demand what we be, are Peter of Bostamente, mine uncle. As soon as ever the Christian Captive had spoken those words, the horseman, leaping off his horse, ran and embraced him, saying, O nephew, as dear to me as my soul and life! now I do know thee very well, and many a day since have I wept for thee, thinking thou wast dead; and so hath my sister, thy mother, and all the rest of thy friends which do live yet! and God hath been pleased to preserve their lives, that they may enjoy the pleasure to behold thee once again. We know very well that thou wert in Algiers; and, by the signs and tokens of my clothes, and that of all the rest here of thy companions, I surmise that your escape hath been miraculous? Indeed it was so, replied the Captive; and we shall have time, I hope, to recount unto you the manner.
As soon as the horseman had understood that we were Christian captives, they alighted off their horses, and every one of them invited us to mount upon his own, to carry us to the city of Velez-Malaga, which was yet a league and a half from that place; and some of them went to the place where we had left the boat, to bring it to the city; whom we informed first of the place where it lay: others did mount us up on horseback behind themselves, and Zoraida rode behind the Captives uncle. All the people issued to receive us, being premonished of our arrival by some one that had ridden before. They did not wonder to see captives freed, nor Moors captived there, being an ordinary thing in those parts; but that whereat they wondered was the surpassing beauty of Zoraida, which at that season and instant was in her prime, as well through the warmth she had gotten by her travel, as also through the joy she conceived to see herself in Christian lands, secure from all fear of being surprised or lost; and these things called out to her face such colours as, if it be not that affection might then have deceived me, I durst ever that a more beautiful than she was the world could not afford, at least among those which I had ever beheld.
We went directly to the church to give thanks unto Almighty God for the benefit received; and as soon as Zoraida entered into it, she said there were faces in it that resembled very much that of Lela Marien. We told her that they were her images; and the runagate, as well as the brevity of the time permitted, instructed her what they signified, to the end she should do them reverence, as if every one of them were truly that same Lela Marien which had spoken unto her. She, who had a very good understanding and an easy and clear conceit, comprehended presently all that was told unto her concerning images. From thence they carried us, and divided us among different houses of the city; but the Christian that came with us carried the runagate, Zoraida, and me to the house of his parents, which were indifferently accommodated and stored with the goods of fortune, and did entertain me with as great love and kindness as if I were their own son. We remained six days in Velez, in which time the runagate, having made an information of all that which might concern him, he went to the city of Granada, to be reconciled, by the holy Inquisitions means, to the bosom of our holy mother the Church. The rest of the freed captives took every one the way that he pleased; and Zoraida and I remained behind, with those ducats only which the Frenchmans courtesy was pleased to bestow on Zoraida; and with part of that sum I bought her this beast whereon she rides; I myself serving her hitherto as her father and her squire, and not as her spouse. We travel with intention to see if my father be yet living, or any of my brothers have had more prosperous hap than myself; although, seeing Heaven hath made me Zoraidas consort, methinks no other good fortune could arrive, were it never so great, that I would hold in so high estimation. The patience wherewithal she bears the incommodities usually annexed unto poverty, and the desires she shows to become a Christian, is such and so great, as it strikes me into an admiration, and doth move me to serve her all the days of my life; although that the delight which I take to see myself hers, and she mine, is ofttimes interrupted, and almost dissolved, by the fear which I have that I shall not find in mine own country some little corner wherein I may entertain her, and that time and death have wrought such alteration in the goods and lives of my father and brothers, as I shall scarce find any one at home that knows me. I have no more, good sirs, to tell you of my lifes history, than which, whether it be pleasing and rare, or no, your clear conceits are to judge. As for myself, I daresay that, if it had been possible, I would have told it with more brevity; fearing it might be tedious unto you, I purposely omitted many delightful circumstances thereof.